MISSOURI ARTS AWARDS 2024
Since 1983, the Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have been honoring our state’s arts heroes—the people who make the arts happen. Our annual Missouri Arts Awards celebrate people, organizations, and communities that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state. Including the 2024 honorees, the awards have acclaimed 248 people, organizations, and communities throughout the state. Honorees are selected by an independent panel in six categories: Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy.
Arts Education | Liberty Public School District, Liberty
Over 80 fine arts teachers saturate the lives of Liberty Public School District #53’s 12,500 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade with the benefits of the arts. These teachers partner with classroom teachers in arts integration, where diverse arts help students understand their non-arts subjects. Studies of “Arts for Art’s Sake” encompass debate, forensics, music, theater, and visual arts. There are frequent enhancement activities such as concerts by the Kansas City Symphony. The district has been recognized by the National Association for Music Education, Educational Theatre Association, and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Says Aaron Money, fine arts department director, “We are constantly re-imagining and creating new ways to inspire, innovate, and invest in our students in the classroom, the community, and beyond.”
• Liberty Public School District, Fine Arts interactive website
Arts Organization | Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis
More than 70 large modern sculptures spread across 105 acres of lawns and woodlands in the heart of St. Louis County at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Founded in 1976, Laumeier has become one of the top dedicated sculpture parks in the world. Free and open daily, Laumeier serves over 350,000 visitors each year. Indoor and outdoor exhibitions feature local, national, and international artists. Education programs range from youth summer camps to hands-on classes for all ages. Community events include the three-day Laumeier Art Fair, Discover Laumeier art-making festival, and new Laumeier After Dark. Collaborative programs reach outside the park and involve diverse voices from the region and beyond. The park’s unique mission of engaging the community through art and nature drives everything Laumeier does.
• Laumeier Sculpture Park
Creative Community | City of Perryville
The arts are writing a dynamic new chapter in Perryville’s 193-old story. Since the City government created Perry County Heritage Tourism in 2015, this southeastern agricultural city has been enhancing and expanding its already rich historical and cultural assets with artistic endeavors that foster not only economic prosperity but community togetherness and pride. Among the programs are six murals in the downtown; the annual rotating Perryville Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, now with three permanent works; and the Perry County Barn Quilt Trail, now up to 69 farms. Local volunteers have banded together in the new Perry County Creative Arts group to brainstorm, create, and promote even more arts events. “Art does make a difference,” says Heritage Tourism Director Trish Erzfeld, “and we are proof!”
• City of Perryville
• Perry County Heritage Tourism
Individual Artist | Catherine Dudley-Rose, St. Louis
Writer, musician, actress, director, speaker, teacher: Catherine Dudley-Rose brings all these aspects together in her burgeoning career as a filmmaker. Her first feature-length film, Parallel Chords, won a raft of awards when theatrically released in 2019. This story of a young violinist breaking free from her pianist father to find her own voice can be seen on DVD, Blu-ray, and online platforms. Ms. Dudley-Rose has also created many screenplays and short films. During her 2021-2023 residency at St. Louis’ Kranzberg Arts Foundation, she began a multi-episode series about local artists and activists, Broken Strings, which she is currently filming. “I believe the arts can save lives,” Ms. Dudley-Rose says. “My mission is to connect a wide range of people who might not normally come together, through the art of film.”
• LinkedIn profile
• Parallel Chords
Leadership in the Arts | Kathleen Morrissey, West Plains
For over 30 years, arts administrator Kathleen Morrissey of West Plains has championed rural community arts as a leader who is, says Missouri Folk Arts Program Director Lisa Higgins, “generous, steadfast, humble, and always collaborative.” Ms. Morrissey founded West Plains’ Media Arts Center. While volunteer administrator for the West Plains Council on the Arts (WPCA), she helped create the city’s signature event, the annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival. She served with University/Community Programs of Missouri State University–West Plains and Community Foundation of the Ozarks as well as many others. She was the Missouri Arts Council’s assistant director 2017-2020. She currently volunteers as administrator of The Media Arts Center, coordinator of The Alliance: Arts and Cultural Organizations, advisory committee member of the University’s Ozark Heritage Research Center, and WPCA president.
• West Plains Council on the Arts
Philanthropy | Charlotte Street, Kansas City
Through grants, awards, residencies, and public programs, Charlotte Street is a bedrock of support, incubator for growth, and locus for connection and collaboration for Kansas City’s contemporary arts community. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $2 million to innovative visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and performers. Charlotte Street answers artists’ critical needs by providing space and resources for creating and presenting work and by building support for sustainable livelihoods. Every year Charlotte Street brings artists’ work to audiences with about 100 free public programs. As their mission says, “Charlotte Street envisions Kansas City as a dynamic home for artists in various career stages and disciplines to thrive, while serving as natural catalysts for an exciting, innovative, and culturally rich city.”
• Charlotte Street
Signature Image Artist | Keith Shepherd, Kansas City
Keith Shepherd is an award-winning artist/graphic designer. After working with Hallmark Cards, Inc. for 23 years, he became a full-time painter and also an art educator for several schools and art programs in the greater Kansas City area. He has exhibited in many galleries, and his works are in private and public collections across the U.S.
• Fine Art America profile
Awards Artwork Artist | Kevin Miller, Independence
Kevin Miller is the glass studio manager at Englewood Arts, a nonprofit art center in Independence with community-focused programs as well as studio space and a home-buying program for local artists. He grew up around the Kansas City area. He has been working with glass since 2006.
• Englewood Arts
CHOOSING THE HONOREES
An independent panel of Missourians representing the arts community throughout the state selects the honorees from among public nominations. These panelists chose the 2023 honorees:
• Panel Chair Lois Brace, Mexico | vice chair, Missouri Arts Council | founding executive artistic director, Presser Performing Arts Center
• Kelly Downes, Cape Girardeau | executive director, Arts Council of Southeast Missouri
• Carmen Sofía Dence, St. Louis | founder and director, Grupo Atlántico | 2022 Leadership in the Arts honoree
• Robert Haskins, Hermann, 2023 Creative Community | tourism marketing specialist, Visit Hermann
• Dr. David C. Nichols, Kirksville; arts advocate and retired professor, Truman State University
• Joan Israelite, Kansas City | consultant, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts | 2023 Leadership in the Arts honoree
• Alison Schieber, St. Joseph; president, Missouri Citizens for the Arts
• Steve Snyder, Republic | photographer | 2019 Individual Artist honoree